My maternal grandmother, Ellen (Harney) Lindberg, was not a world traveler, but she knew how to take a break: time at the beach, a road trip to Newport to bet on Jai Alai, card parties, golf, and line dancing. The point seemed to be less the destination than the excursion. Fun is wherever you make it.
Growing up, my mother and father too were creators of excursions. As a family, we never left the country or got on an airplane, but we traveled and camped constantly. We went to more places in the Northeast and around the U.S. than many families with more money. My parents seemed always to want to go and do. In fact, I can recall a few Friday afternoons in the summer when I’d stop at home for a drink or snack, and my mother would say, “Pack up. We’re going camping.” And I and my four siblings would pack up — we knew the drill. Within a couple of hours, off we’d go in our Country Squire station wagon. I remember the excitement of driving the curving roads of New Hampshire or upstate New York and looking for campground “Vacancy” signs. My brothers and sisters and I would race each other to be the first to call my parents’ attention to a place to stay. “There! There! Vacancy!” Beyond whist parties with their friends, or Casino Night at church, this may have been the only gambling my parents ever did.
Last night we — I, Jimmy, Eli, Lydia, and Grace — returned from our break: an extended car trip to Albany (to see friends), Cooperstown (Hall of Fame), Niagara (falls), and Toronto (Red Sox vs. Blue Jays game three, Kensington Market, the world’s only shoe museum, AGO, city islands, and more). I’ll report on that in the next few days.
In the meantime, there are still weeks of summer left, enough time for day trips, boat rides, outdoor meals, and a beach somewhere.